Institute told to refund student for unfair trade practice

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Sector 32, to refund a student for indulging in unfair trade practice.

Complainant Sourabh Sihag, a resident of Gurdaspur, complained that he took admission for Post Graduate Diploma in Management (agribusiness) at the institute after going through its prospectus. He alleged that it was specifically mentioned in the prospectus that the diploma was recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), as equivalent to an MBA degree.

Sihag claimed that he later got to know that the diploma course had not been recognised by the AIU as equivalent to an MBA degree, following which he decided to discontinue with the course.

According to Sihag, he approached the institute and requested for cancellation of his admission and refund of the fee deposited.

In the written reply, the officials at the institute stated that the course was approved and recognised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It was pleaded that the institute had applied for recognition of the same by the AIU, because it fulfilled all the conditions required for it, and had also deposited the fee in this regard.

It was stated that the process was delayed and the application was pending with the AIU, and the prospectus was printed without correction, with no intention to mislead.

The forum observed that the institute could not be allowed to take shelter of their application for approval which, according to them, was still pending.

"If the opposite party (institute), without having the necessary recognition, chose to publish in it's prospectus that the PGDM course run by it was recognised by the AIU as equivalent to an MBA degree, then the institute is bound to face the consequences," the order stated.

Attributing it as an 'unfair trade practice', the institute was directed to refund the student Rs 87,675 deposited by the complainant and pay Rs 25,000 as compensation.

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